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Joint Statement and Petition by DPAC and Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights on the Labour Party Campaign Against the Bedroom Tax

Unbelievably, the UK Labour Party, currently in opposition, has launched a campaign against the government Bedroom Tax welfare, but bizarrely, this contains an equally  draconian welfare reform.
In the campaign script (page 4) of the document, ‘Labour Party Campaign Against the Bedroom Tax’, issued by the Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, Liam Byrne, we are told:

*“The best way to bring down the benefits bill is to get people into jobs. That’s why Labour is calling for a tough but fair compulsory jobs guarantee. We would offer anyone who has been out of work for more than two years a real job – one that they would be required to take, no ifs and no buts…”

“Britain needs real welfare reform that is tough, fair and that works….”

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED,

Urge all disabled and non-disabled activists campaigning against Tory welfare reform and in particular, the Bedroom Tax, to call on Labour members, constituency parties, plus affiliated and non-affiliated unions and political groups, to:

Challenge the parliamentary Labour Party in the strongest terms, on why it considers compulsory labour necessary to combat the Bedroom Tax.

To start with, they should be told:

1. To use the current protests against the bedroom tax by disabled activists and others as a Trojan horse from which to promote a policy of benefits that is conditional on compulsory work is utterly beyond the pale.

This means that those unemployed and disabled men and women, who campaign against the Bedroom Tax within the Labour Party will, in effect, be campaigning for their own forced labour under a future Labour government.

2. We have to be absolutely clear: There is no such thing as a civilized society that treats people in inhumane and degrading ways.

A welfare ‘safety net’ conditional on exchanging labour for an uncertain standard of material life is a contradiction in terms.

3. No real job is compulsory – does the Labour Party understand the economic meaning of free labour? If not, how can it run any kind of economy, let alone a socially just economy?

A Labour Party welfare policy should support those whose lack of social power has reduced their circumstances, not compete with a Tory-led government to smear them as feckless and undeserving of a living wage.

4. Liam Byrne should immediately strike out all references to work conditionality or compulsory work, attached to the Labour Party Campaign Against the Bedroom Tax.

NO FORCED LABOUR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES AND NO SANCTIONS FOR ANY REASON

To add your name to this statement, please use the comment boxes (‘Leave a reply’) below.

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